The inclusion of photography as an aspect of the Renwick Gallery is both a commercial and artistic decision. Attracting a crowd of young adults and teenagers to an art gallery is no easy task nowadays. By encouraging the use of photography and social media inside of the gallery the exposure of the artwork is greatly increased which in turn attracts more visitors to see the installations first hand. Using photography along with social media in this way is a marketing strategy for the Renwick. The social media presence based around the gallery is enormous. At the entrance to the gallery there is a screen that cycles through Instagram posts. The posts I saw were largely comprised of a younger demographic and nearly all the images had a person as the subject of the photo rather than the art. Personally I take no issue with people centering themselves in the photo instead of the art, in fact I think it personalizes the entirety of the gallery. Capturing a simple photograph of a piece of art doesn’t take any level of skill or artistic merit as the piece is already completed. However, adding additional factors to the photo while including the original piece of art is artistic decision. Of course a simple selfie isn’t exactly chock full of visual imagination but I believe it to be more interesting than an exact photo of the installations.
I believe that the best thing that visitors of the Renwick can do with their photos is play with the angles of their shots or use post production editing to add a little personal flavor to the images of the installations in order to make them unique.
This is a photo I took in Jennifer Angus’ installation In the Midnight Garden. The skull made of flowers reminded me of the Grateful Dead album cover for American Beauty. I did some post production editing in Photoshop to create the final result. By over saturating the original image and drastically changing the gradients of certain darker colors on a duplicate layer I was able to obtain the striking neon while making sure that the eyes and surrounding patterns were distinctly different in color than the skull itself. I also phased out the background color to make it black so the colors and edges would stand out more.
Obviously I also did some post production editing on this image of Gabriel Dawe’s Plexus A1 installation. First I created a duplicate layer of the image on top of the original than completely desaturated the duplicate layer making the image black and white. By erasing away parts of the duplicated layer the original colors from the first layer shine through allowing me to color spot only the installation.